He was a transcendent sports figure. My Uncle Victor, a few years before he died, told me about the time he saw Jackie Robinson return a punt for UCLA. He said he’d never seen anything like it. My uncle was one of many fortunate Americans to see Jackie Robinson play in person. Another was journalist Mike Royko. As Herb Caen and his Vitamin V Martini were to San Francisco and Jim Murray was to Los Angeles, Mike Royko was Chicago’s quintessential newspaperman. The day Jackie Robinson died, Royko wrote about the time he was 12 years-old when the Dodgers came to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
What makes this story pretty damn good isn’t just how Royko caught a ball Jackie Robinson fouled into the crowd on May 18, 1947, but the amazing firsthand account of the story surrounding it. It will make you weep.
Read it here. Scroll past Royko’s story about the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza.